Grub Club: Nectarine Grove


Taylor Riley

Coastal Culinary Scene: The up and coming restaurant Nectarine Grove sits on the west side of Highway 101. As cars pass by, it was hard to miss the charming nectarine girl that crowns the Cafe. We parked by the the train tracks right across the street.

Food is more than just food. It is the foundation of cultures around the world and brings us together as a community. We all eat. It is the centerpiece for many paramount discussions and decisions— it is apparent in paintings throughout the centuries, from the cliche still-life fruit basket to more popular paintings like The Last Supper. The significance of food in society is well known, so it’s time we discover what it means to our community.

Southern California is exploding with countless flavors and dishes that it may be overwhelming to try them all. This is where I come in. Having spent nearly my whole life cooking and constantly going to restaurants all along the west coast, I consider myself a seasoned foodie. Being from Seattle, I was constantly exposed to the native flavors and ingredients of the cloud-blanketed state. My family and I use to go downtown to different restaurants every weekend, my favorites being Poppy and Dick’s Burgers (both are located on Broadway if you find yourself in the city someday).


Taylor Riley
Senior Beck Rinks smiles at the camera while waiting on lunch to be served. Rinks thought the cafe was, “…definitely worth going to…,” he ordered The Classic Burger with Fries and thoroughly enjoyed it.

So when I moved here, it was only natural for me to want to really get to know the local restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries that make up our community. For our first review, we are heading to Nectarine Grove with the first guest, my boyfriend, Beck Rinks.


Nectarine Grove is a local cafe in Encinitas that opened at the beginning of this year. They serve food from Breakfast tacos to Poke bowls and drinks from butter coffee to kombucha on tap. They emphasize their use of local and organic ingredients and it is hard not to immediately be aware that they offer paleo, gluten-free, and vegan options as it is plastered across every menu in the joint.

Taylor Riley
One of many reminders to “Eat Local” around the Cafe. Nectarine Grove emphasizes their use of local and organic ingredients. They believe it is important to support local food producers and farmers.

As Rinks and I walked from our parking spot across the 101, we were greeted by their adorable nectarine girl logo and the eye-catching, “Nectarine Grove” scrawled over the wide open twin doors. After skimming their menu I decided on the Farmers Market Scramble and a 16 oz. house coffee, Rinks had no trouble deciding on The Classic Burger with fries (it was lunchtime after all). We couldn’t pass up on dessert so we asked for the most popular ones and ended up with the Vegan Brownie and Pecan Cookie Sandwich.

Taylor Riley
First Impression: The initial sight as you enter the doors of the cafe, a menu neatly printed above the kombucha taps and desserts. The cashier will gladly assist you in the tough decision-making process of what to eat.

Let’s start with dessert. We tried the Pecan cookie sandwich first— don’t be fooled by its small nature, they pack a lot of flavor in this tiny treat. It instantly felt like autumn when eating this cookie; it consisted of all the right flavors for the season: cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and of course, pecan. “It tastes like homemade pecan pie,” Rinks said. The Vegan Brownie, however, was big in flavor and portion size; I suggest sharing this one unless you’re really hungry. I expected the rich, dark chocolate flavor but I didn’t expect how light and airy this brownie would be— it is definitely one of the best vegan brownies I have ever had.

Taylor Riley
Starting with Dessert: The pecan cookie sandwich and vegan brownie neatly plated together and paired with a cup of black coffee. The pecan cookie sandwich was a perfect autumnal dessert and the vegan brownie impressed with the unexpected airiness and flavor.

Promptly our lunches were served. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful the food looked! I was not expecting such pristine plating from this particular restaurant where they could have slapped the food on the plate, and I would not have thought twice. Since I am vegetarian, I let my carnivorous guest speak for the classic burger. It took Rinks a couple of bites to fully grasp the flavor. His first reaction was an ordinary, “It’s good.” Beck pondered the burger a few moments more,  “… the meat is super high quality and fresh… the bun is more of a biscuit type, so beware,” he continued. Although I did not try the burger, I can attest for the fries. They were delicious, as fries should be, but these had an extra crunch that made them irresistible.

Taylor Riley
The Food arrives: The farmer’s market scramble (right) and the Classic Burger with Fries (right) are delivered to the bench spot overlooking the 101. The picture is taken moments before the food is devoured to the last crumb.

The Farmer’s Market Scramble was everything I wanted in a scramble. There were perfectly-cooked scrambled eggs, sliced golden potatoes, sauteed kale and spinach with some crunchy roasted zucchini and to top it off, a delicious, creamy chipotle cashew sauce. The sauce brought the dish from an ordinary breakfast to a meal you want to get out of bed to eat. The subtle spiciness of the chipotle sauce deepened the flavor of the classic breakfast dish. I paired this meal with the house coffee and sweetened it with brown sugar, it was a light and refreshing morning blend that complemented the meal perfectly.

Taylor Riley
Study Date: The cafe has plenty of seating throughout the place, this section would be great for studying, doing homework or reading.


As for the atmosphere, it met and surpassed my expectations. The decor was simple yet every corner was full of compelling ornamentation. The restaurant’s key message was to eat local and organic, which was authentically reflected in the environment. Something that always catches my attention in restaurants is the music— so when I heard This Charming Man by The Smiths come on mid-bite I nearly choked of excitement. It was then followed by ballads from Joy Division to Beach House— and no morning is complete without these melancholic tunes. Finally, for the price point: it was decently expensive. We got two full meals, two desserts and a coffee for 41 dollars, averaging about 20 dollars per person. The desserts definitely added some price, so if you’re trying to save cash, skip the treats at this place.

Altogether, I’d give Nectarine Grove 8/10 stars. Say what you will, but this is a great place to come to grab a healthy breakfast, plug some headphones in (or not, they have great music) and do some homework or just enjoy the view of the bustling 101 from their front porch.

Happy eating.